Magical Mystery in Which Young Houdini Finds True Friendship is No Illusion
The Magician’s Fire
by Simon Nicholson
Series: Young Houdini (Book 1)
Publication Date: October 7, 2014
Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky
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Young Harry Houdini spends his days chaining himself to train tracks and teetering on wires high above the city with his two best friends, Arthur and Billie. But when Harry’s friend and magical mentor, Herbie, disappears, the three friends band together, determined to rescue the beloved magician.
With nothing more than a mysterious puff of purple smoke, an ominous threat, and a menacing Bulgarian for evidence, Harry, Arthur, and Billie embark on a dangerously thrilling investigation that pushes their skill, and friendship, to the limits. But can Harry find Herbie before it’s too late?
Faster than they can say Abracadabra, Simon Nicholson has readers riveted and holding their breath during his opening sequence where young Harry Houdini chains himself to the train tracks in preparation for his next grand escape. At Harry’s side are his friends Arthur, the neglected son of a banker, and Billie, an orphaned, street-wise girl. In addition to immediately grabbing your attention, Nicholson wastes no time in demonstrating the special bond shared by this rag-tag group of young friends. Just after Harry and his assistants collect the coins showered on him for his dangerous stunt, we find Harry and Billie pooling their resources for a special birthday cake surprise for Arthur. It’s a warm, touching scene that endears you to these kids as they sacrifice to lavishly celebrate their friend.
The moment quietly but clearly sets a tone that will be important as the book progresses. Because, you see, once Harry’s magician friend and mentor goes missing, Harry’s wildly determined to find him. So much so that in his blind desperation, he strikes out alone, leaving his friends feeling jilted. Luckily, along the way, Billie and Arthur prove their mettle and Harry comes to the realization that nothing is more magical than good friends.
— Dawn Teresa
4 of 5 Hearts. Magical Mystery in Which Young Houdini Finds True Friendship is No Illusion.
Strong characterization and plotting make this adventurous mystery not only thrilling, but funny and full of heart. Nicholson has crafted a mesmerizing speculative boyhood history for the daring escape artist, Houdini. Readers who enjoy imaginative, fantasy-twinged fiction surrounding the exploits of close-knit friends will find plenty in The Magician’s Fire that enchants.
*Disclosure of Material Connection: I would like to thank Sourcebooks Jabberwocky and NetGalley for providing me a copy of this title. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”